The Doughnut Plant has haunted us Gourmetros for too long. Two weeks ago, we'd had enough of hearing rave reviews, so we trucked down from SpaHa to see for ourselves whether these were indeed gifts from some benevolent yeasty/cakey doughnut god. We tried to get down there sooner, we really did, but the Plant's schedule and LES locale kept us from their fatty comestables. Oh, and the other motivating factor was a Food Network Throwdown: if the place has a FN special, it's either jumped the shark, or it's buzz-proof.
Between the two trips, we sampled the following cake and yeast-risen 'nuts: Tres Leches, Chocolate Blackout, Triple Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Raspberry Filled, Valrhona Glazed, Strawberry Glazed, and Coconut Cream.
Our feelings about the yeast and cake run along the lines of Ed Levine's reaction last fall. The cake 'nuts were remarkable on both occasions; the Tres Leches' delightfully moist cake, thin ribbon of filling, and crisp glaze made for a truly killer baked good (pictured: right). One of these every morning for the rest of our lives would make us happy (if fat) individuals. These guys achieve a near-perfect balance in the sweetness/texture fields. If the Tres Leches or Blackouts had been treated like a [blech] Dunkin' style filled doughnut (disk-shaped, lake of filling) they would have been far too sweet.
The yeast doughnuts, however beautiful, lacked in every possible way (with one exception). We were shocked at how a seemingly light doughnut could be so tough, chewy, bland and overpowering. The Valrhona glazed was bland (pictured: bottom); the PB&J, chewy and bo-ring (we may as well have just eaten a sandwich...); and strawberry glazed was waay too sweet.
Thankfully, the Coconut Cream yeast-risen doughnut blew the other yeasties out of the water: it was blessed with nuanced coconut flavor, a spot-on cream-to-bread ratio, and it wasn't too tooth-achingly sweet (though it toed the line on that one). The key to the yeast doughnuts, we think, is timing. If we ever get there early, we'll give them another shot.
In the end, the cake doughnuts were some of the best things we've ever put in our mouths. Leave their yeast-risen brethren to the seething hordes of Food Network gastrotourists.
The Afterglow is a reoccurring feature where Gourmetros visit buzzworthy places a bit after the buzz. Call us lazy if you must, but we just want to find out for ourselves if the places were ever worth it.
For more delicious doughnut shots, check out our Flickr account.